Patt Morrison for July 26, 2011

Why pay that red-light camera ticket when you can just ignore it?

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A security camera (white bucket) adorns a traffic light at an intersection.

The Los Angeles City Council’s Budget and Finance Committee agreed yesterday: motorists who get tickets under the controversial red-light camera program can ignore them. The worst that will happen, said Councilman Bill Rosendahl, “is somebody calling you from one of these collection agencies and saying ‘pay up.’ And that’s it.” That’s because the tickets are part of a “voluntary payment program,” without any teeth to collect fines or go after those who fail to pay them. The recommendation is the latest iteration in a long and controversial life of the city’s red-light cameras. Last month, the Los Angeles Police Commission unanimously voted to ban the cameras, echoing controller Wendy Greuel’s audit last year, which found the camera program—budgeting $2.7 million a year—costs the city more than it makes in revenue. On the other side, the LAPD and a local coalition maintain that the cameras increase road safety. The City Council, which was deadlocked over the fate of the cameras last month, is expected to vote tomorrow on whether to end the program and remove the cameras from 32 intersections beginning Sunday.


Dennis Zine, Los Angeles city councilman representing the 3rd District; former motorcycle sergeant in the LAPD

Bart Reed, executive director, The Transit Coalition

Charles Territo, spokesman, American Traffic Solutions

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